. Space Travel News .

25 dead, about 100 missing in Philippine landslide
by Staff Writers
Pantukan, Philippines (AFP) Jan 5, 2012

At least 25 people were killed and about 100 others missing in the southern Philippines on Thursday after a landslide struck a community of gold prospectors, officials said.

The landslip hit a remote mountain community on Mindanao island that was declared off-limits last year due to the ever-present danger of landslides, but migrants in search of instant riches had ignored the warning, they added.

Rescuers using only spades and other hand tools pulled 25 bodies and 15 injured residents from the rubble after the landslide in Napnapan near Pantukan town at dawn, civil defence chief Benito Ramos told AFP.

"A military unit is in the area but they are basically digging with their hands," he told AFP.

Local military official Colonel Lyndon Paniza, who is coordinating the rescue from Pantukan, about two hours away via rugged mountain roads, said rescuers fear there could be more fatalities.

"We expect many were killed since the worst-hit was the middle, where there are more than 50 shanties," Paniza told AFP.

The landslide buried an area measuring about 7,500 square metres (81,000 square feet) as people slept, Paniza added.

Provincial governor Arturo Uy said more than 100 people were believed to be still buried under the collapsed mountainside.

Ramos however said the number of missing was an estimate based on figures from village officials.

The provincial government and local mining firms have been asked to bring heavy equipment up to the village to help local troops speed up the rescue.

The area had been hit by rains unleashed from a storm off Mindanao's southeast coast, the state weather service said.

Pantukan and nearby Monkayo town have drawn thousands of gold prospectors for years, and the largely unregulated mining activities have made the mountainside unstable and caused a series of deadly accidents.

Paniza said another landslide had occurred about two kilometres (just over a mile) away on April 22 last year.

Local officials said that landslide had killed 14 people, while another in 2009 killed 26.

Acting on the advice of national government geologists, local officials ordered all Pantukan gold rush areas evacuated last year.

However, they said some people had returned, possibly joined by new migrants drawn by stratospheric gold prices.

"These are small-scale miners who tunnel into the side of the mountains like rats," Ramos told AFP.

"This had been declared a no-man's-land, where people are forbidden to live. Local officials must explain why people are still there despite the national government's warning," Ramos told a news conference later.

"It's obvious that the gold attracts them. We cannot guard the mountain 24/7 because we have other responsibilities," he said.

The military is fighting a decades-long insurgency in the region and officials say rebels also extort money from the gold prospectors to finance the rebellion.

Provincial governor Uy said the local government had forcibly evacuated the residents after last year's landslide, when the town council passed an ordinance declaring the gold rush areas "no-habitation" zones.

"But the area is remote and the local government has difficulty monitoring the area," he told GMA television.

Miners had been warned previously of the danger, said environment and natural resources secretary Ramon Paje.

"We have identified this area as highly susceptible to landslides," he told ABS-CBN television in an interview.

"We had already told them even before the April incident happened that the top of the ridge is cracked, and it was just a matter of time" before another landslide struck, Paje added.

Ramos said two military helicopters were airlifting more rescuers to Pantukan from the southern port of Cagayan de Oro, one of two Mindanao cities hit hard by flash floods last month that killed more than 1,200 people.

Related Links
Weather News at TerraDaily.com

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Dozens evacuated after massive landslide in Norway
Oslo (AFP) Jan 1, 2012
Dozens of people fled from a rural area bordering Norway's third largest city on Sunday because of a massive landslide but no casualties have been reported, police said. "We have evacuated many farms," regional police operation leader Tore Kyllo told AFP after the landslide struck just south of Trondheim in central Norway. The river of muddy black sludge stretching about a kilometre (ove ... read more

Orbcomm and SpaceX Improve Launch Plans for OG2 Satellites

Orbcomm Prepares For Launch Of Second AIS Satellite

Arianespace Completes 2012 With Soyuz Launch Partner Mission For Globalstar

Soyuz poised for Globalstar second-generation satellite launch at Baikonur

Arvidson To Be Participating Scientist on New Mars Rover

Wheel Passes Checkup After Stalled Drive

Meteorite Shock Waves Trigger Dust Avalanches on Mars

Opportunity at One of its Two Winter Spots

First of NASA's GRAIL Spacecraft Enters Moon Orbit

Twin Spacecraft on Final Approach for Moon Orbit

China to launch orbiters for lunar soft landing in next five years: white paper

Powerful Pixels Help Map The Apollo Zone

SwRI researchers discover new evidence for complex molecules on Pluto's surface

New Horizons Becomes Closest Spacecraft to Approach Pluto

Pluto's Hidden Ocean

Is the Pluto System Dangerous?

New Exo planets raise questions about the evolution of stars

Astronomers discover deep-fried planets

Two new Earth-sized exoplanets discovered

NASA Discovers First Earth-Size Planets Beyond Our Solar System

First J-2X Engine Rockets Through First Round of Testing

Vega to fly ESA experimental reentry vehicle

NASA Takes Next Step In Developing Commercial Crew Program

Industry Leaders Discuss New Booster Development for Space Launch System

China issues white paper on space exploration

China makes rapid progress, breakthroughs in space industry: white paper

China to launch Shenzhou-9, Shenzhou-10 spacecraft next year: spokesman

China lays out five-year space plans

Christmas Comet Lovejoy Captured at Paranal

Dawn Obtains First Low Altitude Images of Vesta

Comet Lovejoy Plunges into the Sun and Survives

Using many instruments to track a comet


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement